- Title: Iraqi forces clear IEDs in recently recaptured town of Bashiqa
- Date: 10th November 2016
- Summary: GROUP OF PESHMERGA FIGHTERS SINGING PESHMERGA FORCES AND ARMOURED VEHICLES IN STREET
- Embargoed: 25th November 2016 16:05
- Keywords: Iraq Bashiqa peshmerga Islamic State destruction
- Location: BASHIQA, IRAQ
- City: BASHIQA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00457V4UVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Peshmerga forces continued to clear the recently recaptured Iraqi town of Bashiqa on Thursday (November 10), searching for any remaining Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) left by Islamic State militants.
The town, located 15 km (10 miles) from Mosul, was captured by a 2,000-strong Kurdish peshmerga force. Islamic State snipers and vehicle-borne explosives slowed down the advance of the fighters.
Upon returning to the town, many residents found their homes heavily damaged. One resident noticed the religious sites had suffered the most devastation.
"I took a walk around the area, we came here to see it and found destruction. They ruined so much of it, especially the religious sites, they damaged stores and homes, but they especially destroyed religious sites," said Sheikh Waed Hassan.
Islamic State militants had left IEDs all over town, including inside homes. One resident was wounded in the leg after an IED exploded at his house.
But the peshmerga said the town was now cleared from dangerous devices.
"We have completely cleared the Bashiqa area. We placed a sign at each location that we expect to be dangerous, whether we suspect an explosive device or missile inside, or a former hiding spot for the militants. We also blocked the exits of all the underground tunnels, 100 percent," said Captain Ghazi Faisal Ahmad, a member of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Islamic State completely destroyed the religious sites in Bashiqa, said one resident.
"These religious sites were all destroyed by Daesh, we also have a site in the centre of Bashiqa, called The Three Domes, which was completely blown up by Daesh. Every location or religious site that belongs to the Yazidis between here and Bazani was completely destroyed by the evil forces of Daesh," said local resident Ibrahim Sheikh.
Armed U.S. soldiers, part of a 5,000-strong force Washington says is advising and supporting the Iraqi offensive, were accompanying the peshmerga in Bashiqa through streets lined by rows of damaged houses, some with entire floors collapsed.
Kurdish military authorities later said the peshmerga were carrying out house-to-house searches in the town.
The overall operation to recapture Mosul, involving a 100,000-strong alliance of troops, security forces, Kurdish peshmerga and Shi'ite Muslim militias and backed by U.S.-led air strikes, has entered its fourth week but has so far gained just a small foothold in the city itself.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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